North Korean leader Kim Jong Un enjoys the finer things in life—foreign foods, imported liquor, and designer cigarettes to name just a few. But there's one thing that the DPRK's dear leader lusts after that we can certainly relate to, and that's his extensive collection of cars. Specifically, Kim Jong Un has an eye for luxury automaker Mercedes-Benz and, despite the company not doing business in North Korea, has amassed a rather large stockpile.
While meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this week, Kim had both a $1.6 million Mercedes Maybach S600 Pullman Guard and a $500,000 Mercedes Maybach S62 waiting to transport him to the summit. The problem is, nobody knows how the North Korean leader got his hands on the automobiles.
Daimler denies selling them to Kim, as the sale of luxury goods to North Korea are banned under U.N. sanctions.
“We have absolutely no idea how those vehicles were delivered to North Korea,” said a Daimler spokeswoman, according to the Associated Press. “For Daimler, the correct export of products in conformance with the law is a fundamental principle of responsible entrepreneurial activity.”
Like many of Kim's watches, yachts, or other luxury goods, Daimler simply isn't allowed to sell the vehicles it manufacturers to Kim or any other individual in North Korea. Yet, the leader still manages to obtain the items.
Earlier this year, U.N. sanction monitors began an investigation into Kim's frequent acquisition of Mercedes-Benz and Lexus vehicles. In addition to the pair of armored Maybach limousines, Kim has also been spotted traversing to summits in a Mercedes-Benz S600 and Lexus LX570. Both automobiles would fall under the blanket ban of luxury vehicles since 2013.
“Our company has had no business connections with North Korea for far more than 15 years now and strictly complies with E.U. and U.S. embargoes,” the spokeswoman later continued. “To prevent deliveries to North Korea and to any of its embassies worldwide, Daimler has implemented a comprehensive export control process. Sales of vehicles by third parties, especially of used vehicles, are beyond our control and responsibility.”
The Kim family has long been infatuated with German luxury cars. Former leader Kim Jong Il even has one of his beloved armored Mercedes permanently displayed in his mausoleum.